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Day of the Oprichnik: A Novel Hardcover – March 15, 2011
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Praise for Day of the Oprichnik and Vladimir Sorokin
“Vladimir Sorokin is one of Russia’s greatest writers, and this novel is one of his best. Day of the Oprichnik is a haunting and terrifying vision of modern Russia projected two decades into the future—or maybe not the future at all. A joy to read—more entertaining, dynamic, engaging, and deeply hilarious than a dystopian novel has any right to be.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story
“Anyone who wants to learn more about Russia and what could be the outcome of [Vladimir] Putin’s rule should read the book. It’s dark and dystopian, but it’s a part of our life.” —Garry Kasparov, Time
“Might this be something of a Sorokin moment in the Anglophone world? Is the pope German?” —Stephen Kotkin, The New York Times Book Review
“[A] take-no-prisoners satire from one of Russia’s literary stars . . . Vladimir Sorokin’s lurid, wildly inventive Day of the Oprichnik is a rowdy critique of Russia’s drift toward authoritarianism.” —Taylor Antrim, Newsweek
“Sorokin’s book is a sleek and darting fish . . . Day of the Oprichnik . . . should attract the readership [Sorokin] deserves . . . He has a fearless imagination willing to be put to most grotesque and energetic use.” —Alexander Nazaryan, The New Republic
“Compelling . . . Devastating . . . Powerful . . . In Day of the Oprichnik, [Sorokin] combines futurological invention with political archaism to vicious satirical effect . . . It’s as if hi-tech limbs had been grafted onto the torso of early modern statecraft: Wolf Hall meets William Gibson.” —Tony Wood, London Review of Books
“Day of the Oprichnik is Vladimir Sorokin’s funniest and most accessible book since The Queue. The KGB orgy scene at the end is worthy of the great shit-eating scenes of his earlier work.” —Keith Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men
“Sorokin’s novel packs a hefty satirical punch that will show American audiences why the author has been so controversial in Russia . . . Great fun, with a wickedly absurdist humor that occasionally reminds one of William S. Burroughs.” —Booklist
“Perhaps no other postmodern writer demonstrates the angst around the reemergence of Russia’s slide back toward authoritarianism than the celebrated (and often reviled) satirist Sorokin. His latest assault, not only on Putin’s government but literary senses, is a caustic, slash-and-burn portrait of a man joyfully engaged in the business of state-initiated terrorism . . . It’s disturbing stuff, but as Sorokin’s razor-sharp caricature unfolds . . . the novelist’s keen argument becomes hard to ignore . . . [An] acidly funny send-up of Russia’s current state of affairs.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Sorokin’s creations are at once fantastically strange and all too familiar. His pen drips with imaginative fury . . . [Day of the Oprichnik] holds its own with dystopian classics like Fahrenheit 451 and honors the traditions of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and other great Russian writers even as its characters burn their books.” —Library Journal
“If queues were arranged in order of merit, it would only be fair to put . . . Vladimir Sorokin at the head.” —Lucy Ellman, The Guardian
“Sorokin [is] one of Russia’s funniest, smartest and most confounding living writers.” —Elaine Blair, The Nation
“Controversy chases the Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin the way a dog chases a stick.” —Ken Kalfus, The New York Times Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
And that, in essence, is the day in the life of Andrei Danilovich Komiaga set out in Vladimir Sorokin's profane, vulgar, funny, weird, chrome-wheeled fuel injected stepping out over the line "Day of the Oprichnik".
Set in Russia in 2028 this story has a decidedly dystopian bent in a fashion similar to Moscow - 2042. But Sorokin's near-futuristic society represents a sort of mutant amalgamation of 500 years of the worst aspects of Russian and Soviet life. No longer ruled by the Soviets (the "Red Period") or the cowboy capitalist oligarchs (the "White Period") of the immediate post-Soviet era, Russia is once again ruled by an all-powerful Tsar. Russia is one of the two great powers, China being the other. Russian political life is dominated by the Tsar and its soul is governed by a newly ascendant Orthodox Church. Andrei is an Oprichnik, which represents the re-creation of Russia's first "KGB", an organization created by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th-century. The Oprichniki of Ivan's time tortured and killed the Tsar's enemies, real and imagined, dressed in black robes and wandered around carrying the severed head's of dogs in order to sniff out treason.Read more ›
With books that have been translated into English, I never know if I am actually reading the "style" of the author or the translator. And, not knowing Russian, I have to assume the translator did a great job. Given the acclaim the book received in Russia and how well this read, I think Gambrell did a fine job.
While the events portrayed are, from a practical standpoint, highly unlikely; they are, from a philosophical standpoint, certainly plausible. Given the history of Russia in the 20th Century, the reader will not be very surprised at Sorokin's "world".
Based on this book, I have bought Sorokin's books "Queue" and "Ice Trilogy".
The Queue (New York Review Books Classics)
Ice Trilogy (New York Review Books Classics)
Viewed from a slightly different angle, "Oprichnik" is a dystopic projection of the Putin's defensive nostalgia for Holy Russia's anti-Western, authoritarian great power grandeur into the near future. Sorokin's writing relies on moments of raw semi-pornographic references which presumably can be justified as necessary to capture and satirize the hypocrisy of the Putin regime's claim to be the global protector of conservative morality and tradition. What we see is a satirical jeering at the ugly marriage of Russian Orthodoxy and anti-Western puritanical bigotry which has become characteristic of the Putin regime, an ideological replacement for the loss of Marxism-Leninism.
In the mid-19th century Tocqueville warned the West, "Today Russia says 'I am Christianity.' Tomorrow Russia will say, 'I am socialism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fellow crossworder on a blog suggested I read this. He is Russian and says it's not too far from how things are there in many ways. I can't say I really enjoyed it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joyce M. Wood
Day of the Oprichnik is an excellent read. Just a word of caution, the book is not for children. The book opens with a rape and ends with even more madness.Published 5 months ago by John Lloyd
This dark dystopia by one of the most prominent Russian dissident writers has been prophetic and is being quoted more and more recently in relation to Putin's Russia. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Svetlana
What are we reading?: Day of the Oprichnik, by Vladimir Sorokin (translated by Jamey Gambrell).
Give me the short version: Ritual, torture, lust. Read more
An interesting dystopian view of Russia (that could very well turn out prophetic). Sexual, grotesque, and religious. Who could want more? Eat your heart out, Mr. Putin.Published 12 months ago by Will K.
I was expecting something more on the level of Pelevin. This had almost no redeeming features. It fails both as pornography and as literature. Read morePublished 14 months ago by J. Kevin White
Enjoyed it. Couldnt put it down. I bet its much better in Russian.Published 15 months ago by James Dixon
This is a rather curious book that reads very similar, in many respects. to A Clockwork Orange, but where the state apparatus is playing the part of the merry droogs, raping and... Read morePublished 20 months ago by M. Hyman